GASSAMA IS AFRICA’S BEST REF FOR THIRD TIME

By Sulayman Bah

Gambia Bakary Papa Gassama has realised his dream of a hat-trick of awards after getting named Africa’s best referee for the third time running.

All eyes were inevitably glued to TV screens around the country as fans monitored events at the Glo sponsored Caf Awards in Abuja, yesterday.

The 37-year-old did not disappoint, scooping Caf’s best referee of the past 12 months for the third term after first clinching it in 2014.

Papa shrugged off competition from Egypt’s Grishea Gehead and Senegal’s Malang Diedhiou to claim the prize.

The first Gambian to take charge of a World group game, Papa first laid his hands on the top prize for referees in 2014, fending off rivalry from then holder Algeria’s Djamal Haimoudi.

Gassama boasts of meteoric feats, becoming the first from the continent’s current generation of arbiters to oversee a Qatar Stars League game.

As recent as November, the Gambian was in the heart of things in the Caf Champions League final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Egyptian giants Zamalek.